Time: 3:30PM – 5:00PM
Location: Upstream boundary with private water to Sylvan Lake Road bridge
Fish Landed: 2
Dave and Beth Gaboury invited us to join them for the Fourth of July weekend at their house in Eagle Ranch, CO, and we quickly accepted. Eagle Ranch is a beautiful development south of Eagle, CO in the valley between the town and Sylvan Lake. We packed our bicycles, fishing gear, and suitcases; and made the drive on the morning of the Fourth of July. Unfortunately we encountered heavy traffic from the bottom of Floyd Hill through the small tunnels east of Idaho Springs, but we eventually arrived at the Gaboury’s house on Founders Avenue by 1:15. After a quick lunch, Dave was ready to fish, so we put on our waders and threw our rods in the 4 Runner, and Jane drove us to Violet Lane. Our plan was to walk down the trail along Brush Creek in the open space area and then fish back to the Gaboury house.
When we arrived, however, there was a red pick up truck parked under route 6, so we elected to fish a different stretch of Brush Creek. Jane drove us back around the circle on Sylvan Lake Road and eventually dropped us off in Eagle Ranch where we could cross a field and meet the creek just above the private water. The stream was clear, but the level was still quite high thus offering few attractive locations to fish. Fish could only hold in spots along the bank where obstacles slowed the rushing water, and these were the locations that two fishermen covered in alternating fashion.
I began with a chubby Chernobyl and added a salvation nymph and emerald caddis pupa, and in a short amount of time Dave G. and I encountered a huge deep pool at a 90 degree bend in the river. I was standing on the bank just downstream of where the main current deflected off the bank and made a turn and then flowed beneath my position. Before I could cast I saw a fish rise twice and much to my surprise on the third drift of my flies, the fish rose and attacked the chubby Chernobyl. I made a quick lift and hooked the eleven inch brown, but it quickly managed to wiggle free. I was pleased to experience some quick action early in my fishing outing.
Next I moved forward eight feet until I was standing directly above the point where the current was swirling against the bank, so I tossed my three flies upstream and allowed them to drift along the edge of the current seam. I looked away for a spit second and when I returned my gaze, the fly was no longer visible. I quickly reacted with a hook set and felt the weight of a decent fish, but once again this fish escaped, and I was more disappointed than after the previous lost encounter.
I moved on and navigated through some muck that bordered a beaver dam and next found a small slack water area just above a point where the current once again deflected off the opposite bank. There was some tall grass hanging over a small bank next to the slow moving pool, and I thought I noticed a slight flash on one of my drifts. I kept working my flies until they were within an inch of the overhanging grass, and the Chernobyl darted causing me to set the hook and land a chunky 12 inch brown. This fish was not large, but I was rather pleased that I’d observed the subtle signs of his presence and coaxed him out of a difficult lie.
Again I moved upstream to a nice 5 foot by 5 foot swirling pocket at the top of a long run. Dave G. advised me that he was having success with a beadhead hares ear, so I swapped the bottom fly to that proven fly and after quite a few casts, the top fly dipped and I hooked a nice 12 inch brown trout. Again I walked upstream along the edge of the water and found another possible holding area not far from the road. Here I hooked what appeared to be a decent sized fish, but it swam downstream to some heavy current, and instead of following along with the fish, I attempted to apply side pressure. This was a lapse in judgement and the battling brown trout snapped off all three of my flies. Needless to say, I was quite upset with my fishing abilities after this turn of events.
I took some time to reconfigure my line and tied on a yellow pool toy and another beadhead hares ear on a three foot dropper. I caught up to Dave G. just above the bridge, and while he fished a deep riffle, I went above him. But the water was rushing downstream in this area with no current breaks, so I circled back to a spot between the bridge and Dave G. where there was a short five foot wide and eight foot long pocket behind some large rocks. I flicked the yellow pool toy to the edge of some white frothy water, and I was surprised to see a substantial brown trout emerge from the bubbling water and snatch my fly. I immediately set the hook and the fight was on. The brown thrashed about in the pocket and moved from side to side, but then it slid into the faster current toward the middle of the small stream. I allowed the fish to swim downstream and let the line slide through my fingers until the trout paused 15 feet below me. I started to stumble along the bank to get next to the fish, but before I could take more than a step or two, the fish veered back into the heavy current, and at this point, my line went limp, and I’d once again lost a fish and two more flies. I was even more exasperated than after losing the previous fish, so Dave G. and I decided to call it a day, and we hiked back to the house to prepare for the neighborhood Fourth of July party.